BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto recently announced a production joint venture, combining the parties’ iron ore assets in Western Australia, which is now the subject of a formal competition investigation by the European Commission. The parties are two of the largest producers of iron ore in the world. The new joint venture is intended to cover only production activities, leaving the parties free to market their products separately. Nevertheless, the Commission considers that the size and scope of the deal raises potential competition concerns, announcing on 25 January 2010 that it intends to probe the impact of the deal on the worldwide market for iron ore transported by sea